4 trading habits that keep you unproductive

Habits are powerful, especially when they’re bad. If you’re struggling to overcome certain vices, you’re starting from the same place as some of the most successful people in the world. Bill Gates tends to put things off for later, Elon Musk is too passionate about coffee. Mark Cuban is not always good at communication. But they had to quit their habits over the course of their careers. 

Perhaps your habits are slowing down your trading career without you realizing it. So, before breaking them, let’s first identify the most notorious bad trading habits. 

1. Allowing distractions

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You’re bound to face distractions, and you’ll have to try your hardest not to give in. Part-time traders will be distracted by other work. Traders working at an office or in a co-working space will be distracted by people and background noises. 

Traders working from home have the worst of it. You are constantly tempted to surf the internet, get food from the kitchen, do home repairs, and what have you. 

It’s also tough to avoid distractions that come from the work itself. As a trader, you’re advised to absorb information and research as much as possible throughout the day. But there is a line between consuming a lot of information and just being distracted by irrelevant news.

2. Delaying decisions

In other areas of life, it’s helpful to sleep on an important decision. But the trading world doesn’t tolerate procrastinators and people who hesitate. You might not get the same opportunity tomorrow if you sleep on it today. 

Stop delaying your decision-making under the guise of trying to make better choices. Instead, adopt a trading system that has predetermined setups, allowing you to get in and out of trades quickly.

3. Reinventing the wheel

You often come across the infamous habit of recreating something that already exists – a strategy, indicator, etc. 

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In contrast, leveraging what you know already and what other people have learned are examples of good trading habits. If you’ve been in similar market situations before, why pretend that you don’t already know what to do? You can build upon existing systems and concepts, putting your own spin on them if needed. 

Obviously, no two market conditions are exactly the same. But flexibility doesn’t mean always starting your analysis from ground zero.

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4. Comparing yourself to others

If you are competitive by nature, you probably like to gauge your success based on how well your peers are doing. Or worse, you might be comparing yourself with leading professionals with decades of experience. Either way, you’re doing yourself a disservice. 

People tend to publicize their highlights over their fumbles and losses. Unless you have access to their trading account, you’ll never actually know how well others are doing.

If you’re just too curious, have an occasional look at other traders’ results to put things in perspective. 

How to get rid of bad trading habits

Here is a rapid-fire list of recommendations for breaking habits: 

  • Look for your fears and excuses
  • Dig into the true sources of your habits
  • Have good reasons to change 
  • Put yourself in a successful environment
  • Prepare for slip-ups 
  • Overcome the all-or-nothing mindset

At the end of the day, you should try to replace bad habits with habits of successful day traders, such as keeping a balanced schedule and lifestyle, constant learning, and closely following their strategies. This won’t be an overnight change, but keep trying!

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